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About Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Established by the co-founder of tech giant Microsoft Corporation and his wife, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works in developing countries to improve health and reduce poverty, and in the US to support education nationwide and children and families in the Pacific Northwest. With an endowment of about $50 billion, the foundation is the largest in the US, distributing more than $45 billion in total grants since 1994. Investor Warren Buffett plans to give the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation about $30 billion worth of Berkshire Hathaway stock in installments.


The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation operates through five primary divisions: Global Health, Global Development, Global Growth & Opportunity, United States, and Global Policy & Advocacy. 

The Global Health and Global Development divisions (together accounting for about 65% of total grant support) are dedicated to providing healthcare and addressing health inequities in developing countries; focus areas include infectious diseases, child health, nutrition, family planning, and vaccine development and delivery. Its Global Growth & Opportunity division (nearly 15% of grant support) works to serve the billions of people worldwide living in poverty or suffering from chronic hunger through agricultural development, financial services, and access to water, sanitation, and hygiene.

In the US, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has programs focused on K-12 and postsecondary education and economic opportunity, as well as social inequity and poverty issues in Washington State, home of the Gates family and the foundation. The US division accounts for some 10% of grant support.

Lastly, the foundation works with governments and public and private sectors to advance policies and encourage philanthropy through its Global Policy & Advocacy division.


Geographic Reach

Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation has an additional US office in Washington, D.C., along with offices in China, Ethiopia, Germany, India, Nigeria, South Africa, and the UK. The foundation supports grantees across the US. Internationally, it supports work in more than 130 countries.

Company Background

Bill Gates created the William H. Gates Foundation in 1994 with $106 million. During the next four years, he added about $2 billion to the charity. He appointed his father the head of the foundation, which at first was housed in Bill Gates Sr.'s basement. In 1997 Gates established the Gates Learning Foundation (originally called the Gates Library Foundation), a philanthropic effort to improve library systems. It was Gates' goal to improve technology and Internet access at libraries, which some critics saw as a way for him to plant Microsoft software at libraries nationwide. Patty Stonesifer, a former executive at Microsoft, ran the organization from an office above a pizza parlor.

Bill and his wife, Melinda French Gates, contributed some $16 billion to the foundation in 1999. In 2000 Gates decided to merge his two charity programs into one entity, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

In June 2006 investor Warren Buffett announced plans to give the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation about $30 billion over a number of years.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

500 5th Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109-4636
Phone: 1 (206) 709-3100

Firm Stats

Employer Type: Privately Owned
Co-Chair: William H. Gates
Co-Chair: Melinda F. Gates
Co-Chair: Bill Gates
Employees (This Location): 184
Employees (All Locations): 1,376

Major Office Locations

Seattle, WA

Other Locations

Seattle, WA
Beijing, China
New Delhi, India